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Ex-first family agrees to return overseas funds to prosecutors

Ex-first family agrees to return overseas funds to prosecutors

Taipei, April 6 (CNA) Former first lady Wu Shu-jen has agreed to transfer roughly NT$700 million held overseas to a bank account designated by prosecutors to obtain the early release of former President Chen Shui-bian, Chen's office said Tuesday.
Office secretary Chiang Chih-ming said that after the former president was indicted on corruption and embezzlement charges in December 2008, Chen's son and daughter-in-law wanted to send money related to the case that they held in a Swiss bank account back to an account designated by prosecutors in exchange for a plea bargain.
But no progress has been made in the matter, Chiang said, because Wu has insisted that the sums in the overseas account be remitted to a third party account for the purpose of helping the underprivileged, nurture native forces and for public welfare.
That changed, however, after Teng Chen-chiu, presiding judge at the Taiwan High Court, gave an ultimatum on April 2 to return the money soon. Teng said Chen would have a good chance of being released on bail if the money were returned and little chance if it was not.
The Taiwan High Court also announced on the same day that it will announce its verdict of the corruption case surrounding Chen and his family on June 11.
Wu decided to comply with the court's request after studying the matter with her son and lawyers and signed the necessary documents.
"Now it will be up to the SID to step up efforts to coordinate the matter with Swiss judicial authorities, " Chiang said, referring to the Special Investigation Division (SID) under the Supreme Prosecutors Office responsible for the former president's case.
Chiang said Chen's lawyers hope that Taiwanese and Swiss judicial authorities will make rapid progress in dealing with the issue.
There is no guarantee, however, that Switzerland will agree to the transfer of the funds, which have reportedly been frozen since 2008.
Chiang made the remarks after he visited Chen, who has been in detention since late 2008, at a detention center in Taipei County.
The former family's deposits of millions of U.S. dollars overseas first came to light in August 2008, but the Chen family contended at the time that the money was legally obtained through political donations.
The SID indicted Chen, his wife, his son, daughter-in-law and 10 others in December 2008. Both Chen and his wife were found guilty of corruption, embezzlement and money laundering in September 2009 and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Taipei District Court.
The former first family appealed the verdict, and the Taiwan High Court has heard the appeal for nearly six months and is expected to hand down a ruling on June 11. (By Sunrise Huang and Lilian Wu)




Updated : 2021-05-15 18:54 GMT+08:00